Life Biosciences has in-licensed intellectual property related to scientific findings recently described in two publications in the journal Nature. The publications, based on research conducted in animal models, report that therapies targeting the biology of aging have the potential to not only slow the progression but also to reverse aging-related disease. Life Biosciences intends to develop new therapies for aging-related conditions.
“These two studies open a new frontier in biotechnology and medicine,” Mehmood Khan, MD, Chief Executive Officer of Life Biosciences, said in a company news release. “They pave the way for the development of groundbreaking treatments to restore the function of aging organ systems and thereby allow people to live healthier longer.”
The first article reports on studies led by David Sinclair, PhD, AO, a co-founder of Life Biosciences, and his colleagues at Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts Eye and Ear, Massachusetts General Hospital, University of California Los Angeles, and Yale School of Medicine. In this study, conducted in cell lines and in animal models, the researchers rejuvenated damaged or aged cells in the eye with a gene therapy that induced expression of three of the Yamanaka factor proteins. This gene therapy allowed nerves in the eye to regrow after injury and safely restored vision, both in old mice and in a mouse model of glaucoma. The full article, titled “Reprogramming to recover youthful epigenetic information and restore vision,” is available through the Nature website (https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2975-4). The license held by Life Biosciences subsidiary, Iduna Therapeutics, from Harvard University covers a patented gene therapy system for the expression of specific factors known to induce pluripotency and rejuvenation.
“The study shows for the first time that it may be possible to wind the clock back in complex tissues to restore youthful biological functions such as vision,” Dr. Sinclair said in a news release. “It is promising research in terms of how we address aging-related diseases, including diseases such as glaucoma, which affect many patients later in life.”
The second article reports on studies led by Ana Maria Cuervo, MD, PhD, a Life Biosciences founder scientist and member of the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Cuervo and her colleagues at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and the University of Colorado Denver reported that the diminished ability of old mouse and human hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) to produce new blood cells is correlated with a decline in a process called chaperone-mediated autophagy (CMA). CMA breaks down unwanted proteins in cells and recycles them into nutrients. When CMA was activated in the hematopoietic stem cells of geriatric mice, either genetically or by treatment with a small molecule, the old stem cells regained the capacity of young stem cells to generate new blood cells. The findings indicate that therapies that activate CMA have the potential to restore the function of aging hematopoietic stem cells and improve immune function. Life Biosciences has in-licensed the intellectual property related to targeting of CMA from Albert Einstein College of Medicine. The full article, titled “Chaperone-mediated autophagy sustains haematopoietic stem-cell function,” is available through the Nature website (https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-03129-z).
“By activating chaperone-mediated autophagy, we are able to restore the functionality of hematopoietic stem cells in both old mice and older humans, which has very important therapeutic implications,” said Dr. Cuervo. “We are looking forward to further investigating how we can put chaperone-mediated autophagy to use in restoring the vitality of aging cells in older people.”